This thing had stories to tell before people even got there. For example, Forrest and I found out that there is no PBR to be found in Potosi. In fact, you ask for it, and the look people give you is one of great confusion. Even more amazing is the fact that Country Mart doesn't even have beer at all! So we fell back on Plan B - a suitcase of Stag from the BP. Whew, crisis averted.
I got to see things that I didn't think I'd ever see - everything from Farinella's fancy new "eel-skin watch," (Stop into Mesa to have him show it to you - it's quite beautiful, and probably rare) to a bumpin' shirtless-gay-Latino discotheque with laser-lights at group campsite D (had everything but androgynous suspended-cage dancers.) Yes, a dance party, as seen here - the identities of those involved has been protected: "Wanna do a line of coke off my boner?"
One word: weird. Not to say that there wasn't some partying going on outside of the dance party, but ours was more fitting for rural Missouri or even rural China, as seen by our table the next morning:
After waking to the sunrise, getting our coffee and breakfast, taking our morning constitutionals, we at the Provisional Team Seagal HQ (campsite 17D) got our shit together, and went to starting the day's festivities - Tropical Storm Masson and Lawman headed out to do the finishing touches on course markings and make water drops, while I (Casey F. Ryback, AKA Crotch, AKA Croach) headed to the glorious boat ramp to meet Digiorno and get people started.
This is what non-racers would be non-racing for:
I started marking off people's names and handing out their functional spoke cards:
...while at the same time enjoying all the ridiculous people that were showing up:Rumor has it that Scott paid an undisclosed amount of money to get to watch Drew do this... Also notable about that photo is how Scott is actually kitted-up and ready to roll, despite drinking enough alcohol the night before to sterilize a hospital. What a trooper.
Todd didn't keep that long-sleeve top on for very long...
Considering all the rain this season, Mashor had a very fitting accessory which was promptly filled with PBR. He rode for several hours without spilling it, btw.
It was about that time, where we had all the suckers... I mean Non-Racers line up sans-bike across the bridge for a little pre-non-race meeting:
They were off! Borb and Gino have a special connection, and before setting off on this long and arduous journey, they had to have their final farewell, which was actually a very touching moment:
"Trail Bling" was first with the hole shot, with our very own Jerkward right behind him. This is after Gino's sinister plans involving two "Alabama Black Snake" zip ties and hapless bikes did not come to fruition:
The non-racers were off, as were we - I rushed up to the 32/DD lot to snap photos of everyone coming through and to get a headcount. TSM and Lawman hurried out to get one moar water jug put out. I was surprised with how quickly the first non-racers came past this trailhead, which is about 5.8 miles, 2 hills, and one washed out bridge into the route. Man-training through in 1-2-3 was Rock, Fuhrmann and Jerkward with Matt James just around the corner, at just over 28 minutes! (I didn't get photos of the first handful as a result of their blistering speed.)
Just a few photos taken from the 32/DD lot on the first pass:
Farinella had one of the best lines of the day, as he was lending Jason Pryor his last innertube. Jason and Keith Weinkein had been trying to make something usable out of Jason's rear tire, which was cut up like a East St. Louis hooker. Jason, upon learning this was John's last tube, resisted taking it to which he replied "Don't worry, I won't be getting any flats today." Kind of a mix of Joe Namath and Babe Ruth. Fucking Badass. If only everyone were as lucky as he ended up being - there were at least 3 or 4 people who had flatted within those first 6 miles. Many more to come, too. 39 people came through that first checkpoint, including Gino who was sweeping the course.
My next stop was to head up to the first water stop, which was almost 17 miles in. And despite the hottest weather yet this year, hills that climbed for several hundred feet each, and enough poison ivy to fill a fucking plantation, there were still smiles to be seen, and beer still in Mashor's rain/beer gauge:
I wish I could have stuck around each point on the course to see/photograph everyone go through, but there was only a limited time before I had to be further up the trail and back to the finish! Watching people ride through each spot was a shitload of fun...
Right after the drinking water stop there was another kind of water stop - a tricky creek to cross where everyone got at least their feet wet:
Stephanie got more than just her feet wet. I think this actually might be one of the best photos of the day, actually - the look of sheer terror on her face as I sat there cheering her on to try to ride through the creek. Precisely .34 seconds after this photo was taken, her front wheel stopped moving and she went over the bars and into the drink - followed by furiously awesome "YOU ASS!!!" Apparently it was her first-ever endo:
Let's go in for a closer look:
All was set right in the world though when a pretty butterfly landed on her helmet and stayed on there as she rode away (not the clearest photo...):
A quick stop-over at the water stop where I found Ralph having snapped his new seatpost on the last climb (on a climb?) where he then had to go bmx-style down to the road, where I gave him a ride back to the finish to get the finishers. (I have the lower half of that post, btw) On the way back, we passed a couple of non-racers non-racing their way up *the gravel climb.* Believe it or not, we sent the route up the "easier" of the gravel roads - the harder of the two would have brought people past Monty's Cock Farm, and then up an even steeper hill. We caught and passed the front of the non-race, finding Dan-o not too far behind Matt James:
The last photo taken on course was of Matt James splashing through the final creek as he entered the singletrack for the last time after the 10 miles of grueling fire road:
The heat was unrelenting, which made finishing that much sweeter - especially for Matt who claimed First Place Overall with a time of 3:24:08! Dan came in Second overall and First SS less than a minute behind:
Jeff Yielding looked strong as fuck all day which allowed him to nab 3rd Overall:
Seen at the end:
Punchor had an extremely rough day which saw his blood sugar drop to dangerously low levels, but with the help of some superior states of mind and with a little help from his friend Mr. John Hatchor, made it back under his own power in time to get his medicine:
Matt celebrated his win by doing the funky chicken:
Serious fucking business:
Ben G - rode back with Gino, after a LOOOONG day, but when I offered him a ride in the car when I saw them on the gravel, his response was "No, I'm gonna finish this thing." Well, actually there were a lot more obscenities and cursing, but you get the idea. Nice fucking work:
Our sponsors are seriously responsible for making this happen. They are the reason why we don't require an entry fee for these events - Sponsors like Pabst, The Hub, ByeKyle, Kona, Velocity, Klunk Bicycles in Columbia (owned by Karl, who was on the ride) give us the support to do these things. We schwagged it up: So please try to patronize them when given the chance - we would use these products even if they didn't sponsor us, because their shit is awesome.
You should also know if you already didn't, that the OTA did a ton of work mowing several miles of the trail, and also removing a large number of trees. Want to know who puts a lot of that time in? Our very own Lawman, an official OTA Sawyer, as seen here snapping the wrist of a fallen tree.
After most people had cleared out and headed home in the air conditioned cars for some recovery time, we still had to grab a few things from the course, notably water jugs and tape. Turns out one of the big gray water coolers had been stolen, though they left the Salsa jersey that was laying next to it. Go figure. Masson and I decided to drive out to check out the tailings pond which feeds the Strother Creek, which parallels the gravel road for a few miles. I snapped this photo, which I felt like a nice shot to end the day:
I must admit that in a flurry of middle fingers and intense heat, I forgot to pass along Mr. Jerkin's CXmas spokecard, as outlined by Jeff Yielding here. For that I am un-endingly sorry. I am also sorry that several people weren't able to make it down, including but not limited to our own Professor and Gabrielle Renner (who was out with a nasty busted hand - hope it heals quickly!)
Another thing to mention, please let us know (with proper size) if you pre-registered and didn't get your shirt, we'll get it to you. And if you weren't registered but rode anyway and would like one of those saweet t-shirts, get us 10 bucks and we'll get it to you as well.
Thanks to those who showed up and hung out afterwards - that's what it's all about! Major respect to everyone who came and completed the ride in that heat! I rode North Trace the next day to find myself basically in survival mode the whole time. Totally worth it.
-Casey F. Ryback, Regular Guy
P.S. All of Punchor's photos available here; I'll have the rest of my photos uploaded to an album soon for viewing as well. **EDIT** More photos uploaded here
1 3:24:08 Matt James - Men Open
2 3:24:50 Dan Fuhrmann - SS Open
3 3:30:51 Jeff Yiedling - Men Open
4 3:36:35 Mitch teh Morshor - Men Open
5 3:38:46 Larry Koester - SS Open
6 3:49:20 Scott Peipert - Men Open
7 3:50:01 Nico Toscani - SS Open
8 3:52:43 John Donjoian - SS Open
9 3:52:46 Brian Busken - SS Open
10 3:59:37 Paul Krewet - Men Open
11 4:01:26 Drewballs - Men Open
12 4:01:43 Tom Lauria - Men Open
13 4:09:52 Todd Holtman - Men Open
14 4:31:11 Roger Mackay - Men Open
15 4:31:12 Stove - SS Open
16 4:39:24 Rob Ballou - Men Open
17 4:44:28 Jason Pryor - Men Open
18 4:44:29 John Hatchor - SS Open
19 4:44:46 Karen Holtman - Women Open
20 4:44:50 Stephanie McCreary Women Open
21 4:46:44 Punchor - SS Open
22 4:51:53 Karl Kimball - SS Open
23 4:57:38 Rock Wamsley - Men Open
24 5:20:50 Taggort - SS Open
25 5:23:10 Keith Weinkein - Men Open
26 5:37:14 Guy in Veloforce jersey - Mn Open
27 6:19:20 Sasha - Women Open
28 6:19:21 T-Tocs - SS Open
29 6:44:25 Borb Jerkins - Men Open
30 6:44:26 Lukas Lamb - Men Open
31 7:10:04 John Farinella - Men Open
32 7:10:06 Guy in Salsa jersey (Justin?) - Men Open
33 7:25:00 Ben G - Men Open